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Attorney General Announces New Partnership in Fight Against Violent Crime
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
By Alan R. Hanson, Acting Assistant Attorney General
This week, I had the privilege of joining Vice President Pence, Attorney General Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, Associate Attorney General Brand and nearly 400 federal, state and local law enforcement officials; community advocacy and victims organizations; and representatives from academia for an important event: the National Summit on Crime Reduction and Public Safety.
The summit was hosted by the Attorney General's Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, established in response to a presidential executive order. It was an opportunity for leaders to discuss how to support and replicate successful efforts to reduce local violent crime.
In his remarks to summit participants, Attorney General Sessions pointed out that violent crime is on the rise. In 2015, the nation saw the largest single-year increase in violence since 1991, and the murder rate saw its largest jump since 1968. The Attorney General has joined the President in calling for greater vigilance in our fight against crime and drugs. As he said, "Every American, no matter who they are or where they live, has the right to be safe in their homes and neighborhoods from the scourge of criminal gangs, carjackers, and drug dealers."
In the summit's opening session, he announced a key effort aimed at protecting our communities from these threats: the Department's newly organized National Public Safety Partnership. The PSP, which is coordinated by OJP's Bureau of Justice Assistance, furthers the Attorney General's National Violent Crime Strategy by supporting communities that (1) struggle with levels of violent crime that significantly exceed the national average and (2) would benefit from the Department's support in developing their own capacity to deal with the crime.
The PSP provides a framework for enhancing federal support of law enforcement officials and prosecutors as they aggressively investigate and pursue violent criminals—specifically those involved in gun crime, drug trafficking and gang violence. PSP does this by encouraging agencies to share their expertise and resources to tackle the most challenging crime-related issues in their cities. And it marshals the Department's resources to develop strategies, based on solid data and evidence, to support cities in addressing these challenges.
This initiative started in 2014 as a pilot known as the Violence Reduction Network, a Department-wide program that enabled cities to receive training, technical assistance and other resources. Some of those sites have already shown measureable progress in their fight against violence. The PSP's launch includes 22 sites, including those that were participating in the pilot program.
OJP plays a lead role in coordinating assistance to the sites. PSP will be a centerpiece of our work in public safety, along with programs like the Byrne Justice Assistance Grants Program, which remains the largest source of federal funding for state, local and tribal criminal justice.
Other DOJ partners participating in the PSP are the Executive Office for United States Attorneys; the Office on Violence Against Women; the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the FBI; the Drug Enforcement Administration; and the U.S. Marshals Service.
Public safety is job number one at OJP. We want to be sure that we are giving local officials the tools they need to protect their residents from the ravages of crime and drugs, which destroy too many lives and devastate too many neighborhoods. I am hopeful that, with the tools we are making available through the Public Safety Partnership – including an online Public Safety Clearinghouse – we will stem this rising tide of violence and begin to reclaim our communities.